Deaf WR Holder Matthew Klotz Reportedly Eyeing Hungarian Olympic Team In 2024

Deaf world record holder and current Big Brother houseguest Matthew Klotz appears to be eyeing Olympic qualification for next summer’s 2024 Games in Paris, but his plan is to vie for a spot on the Hungarian team rather than the United States.

Klotz is a dual citizen, and spoke about his aim to qualify for the 2020 Hungarian Olympic team back in 2018 while he was attending LSU, though he seemingly never got his sporting citizenship changed.

He ultimately competed at the 2021 U.S. Olympic Trials and placed 37th in the men’s 100 backstroke (55.37) and 63rd in the 50 freestyle (23.50). Klotz also raced at the 2016 U.S. Trials, placing 35th in the 200 back and 41st in the 200 back.

According to rumblings surrounding the Big Brother 25 live feeds, Klotz has said his aim is to qualify for the Hungarian team in 2024, having mentioned back in 2018 that it’s a more “realistic” goal compared to the ultra-elite U.S. squad.

The 27-year-old has won numerous gold medals at the Deaflympics, and currently holds LCM deaf world records in the men’s 50 free, 50 back, 100 back, and 200 back.

In addition to the hurdle Klotz faces without having an adequate training plan for the foreseeable future, with this season of Big Brother marking the show’s longest in history (100 days) with the finale slated for November (if he is eliminated early he can go home, but after a certain point those knocked out remain sequestered until the end of the show), he also has some work to do if he wants hit the Olympic ‘B’ cuts.

His best chance would seemingly be the 100 back, where his personal best time of 54.79 from 2019 falls just under eight-tenths shy of the ‘B’ standard of 54.01. The ‘A’ cut is more than a second faster than his PB at 53.74.

The time would rank sixth among Hungarians swimmers this season, with Hubert Kos (53.11) and Benedek Kovacs (53.67) leading the way under 54 seconds.

Klotz’s next best event would have to be the 50 free, where his 22.85 lifetime best is still a far cry from the Olympic ‘B’ cut of 22.07.

Prior to heading to the Big Brother house, Klotz competed at the U.S. National Championships in Indianapolis, placing 17th in the 50 back (25.52) and 46th in the 100 back (56.51). He also logged a PB of 25.45 in a 50 back time trial.

We also can’t overlook the fact that Klotz would still need to attain Hungarian sporting citizenship inside a tight window, and World Aquatics recently extended the waiting period to three years for those looking to switch nationalities. However, it’s possible Klotz initiated the switch prior to the rule revision in February, which could make it possible.

A native of Cameron Park, Calif., Klotz competed for LSU in the NCAA from 2016 until 2020, with his last collegiate competition coming at the 2020 SEC Championships less than a month prior to the pandemic. He has continued to train out of Baton Rouge since his career concluded, representing Tiger Aquatics in competition.

There have been at least two deaf swimmers to win medals at the Olympic Games, with American Jeffrey Float earning gold as a member of the U.S. men’s team in the 800 free relay at the 1984 Games in Los Angeles. South African Terence Parkin competed at both the 2000 and 2004 Games, earning Olympic silver in the men’s 200 breast in Sydney.

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1 month ago

I work on Big Brother… he’s able to do a little bit of lifting in the yard when they get outside… but definitely not able to train.

1 month ago

You might want to look up Dave Wharton who held the world record in both the 200 and 400 IM’s as a deaf swimmer (1988)

1 month ago

I really do not understand how swimswam calculated his time from 2019 would be ranked 6th in Hungary ? At lest 10-12 swimmers has better time than him? Or you calculate only 2023 results? But in this case you should rank his 2023 performance against the Hungarians…

Barbossa Andrew
1 month ago

entering the big brother house in a pre-olympic year isn’t doing himself any favors. Potentially 90+ days with no communication outside the house and pool/fitness room access provided in the house is equivalent to a hotel.

Sapnu puas
1 month ago

Hope this doesn’t sound horrible but…what difference does being deaf have to do with being able to swim? Orrrr is it more because life outside the pool effected? Orrrr

Reply to  Sapnu puas
1 month ago

Deafness affects motor skills, and also I’d imagine posses huge difficulties to training. It is easy to take what you have for granted and not realize how impactful it would be to no have one of your senses…

Reply to  Sapnu puas
1 month ago

I think it’s a combination of using a lot of energy to figure out what to do in training plus the challenges of attending school with substandard accommodations, having to go through years of speech therapy, dealing with social issues associated with being deaf, etc.

Reply to  Sapnu puas
1 month ago

I would think at least the anticipation of the start gun/beep could possibly have a slower effect. At least in slower meets where one has to turn their head to see the flash. But there could be more high tech gadgets eliminating that these days, or not. And then possibly the ability to communicate stroke changes/tweaks don’t come as easy, especially if your coach does not know ASL or another sign language. Note, I’m only guessing here.

Gail M Dummer
Reply to  Sapnu puas
1 month ago

There is much documentation about officiating at the start. Strobe lights at each starting block help, but swimmers with signficant hearing loss still have difficulty hearing the starting commands. Few officials have experience giving the arm movements at the start, plus it is a disadvantage for the swimmer to turn the head/body toward the starter to view the arm movements. Video evidence, mostly from championship level meets, shows that swimmers who are deaf have a delayed start in most cases. Training and technique instruction can be affected if the coach/swimmer duo do not develop effective communication strategies. The same problems occur in track and field.

Tea rex
Reply to  Sapnu puas
1 month ago

In addition to the physical aspects other commenters pointed out, there is just a big deaf culture. Think of the Maccabiah Games, Invictus, or even to a degree Para swimming. It’s a tight knit community, and they follow / get together with fellow deaf swimmers. At some point, deaf swimmers started tracking “their” own world records.

1 month ago

This is great, except there’s a slight issue. He’s not fast enough to make the Hungarian team. Good luck to him as he tries, but those are some big drops he needs to make.

About James Sutherland

James Sutherland

James swam five years at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario, specializing in the 200 free, back and IM. He finished up his collegiate swimming career in 2018, graduating with a bachelor's degree in economics. In 2019 he completed his graduate degree in sports journalism. Prior to going to Laurentian, James swam …

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